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Talking back to IoT devices that talk behind my back
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deron19
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The case for IoT
deron19   7/13/2014 11:03:30 AM
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I think we focus too much on home automation when we talk about IoT.  I'm sure that is because of Google's recent moves.  The real value from IoT will not be realized by individuals.  It will be realized by businesses, communities, government, etc.  It has the potential to deliver very useful information. It shouldn't be expected to be a source of convenience, i.e. the washer talking to the grill.

junko.yoshida
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Re: The case for IoT
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 8:37:51 PM
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@deron19, agreed. I think IoT on the home front might end up to be a hard sell. The real value of IoT may reside in the infrastructure.

davezawislak
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It should be smart too
davezawislak   7/13/2014 11:29:16 AM
First if your iron is smart enough to message it is left on, it should just turn itself off. Likewise for the car lights. Because messaging systems go down.

resistion
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Re: It should be smart too
resistion   7/14/2014 3:09:42 PM
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Exactly.

betajet
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Solution looking for a problem
betajet   7/13/2014 3:08:52 PM
JMO/YMMV:

When I first heard about the Internet of Digital Things (IDioT), it was from ARM who saw that demand for smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices would saturate pretty soon and needed a new market for ARM chips to maintain growth.  Similarly, Cisco is big into IDioT, because they also need to develop new markets for growth.  Same with other large corporations pushing IDioT.

I see IDioT as a technology that's trying desperately to convince consumers that they need it, like 3D TV, Smart TV, self-driving cars, and automobile infotainment.  It would be nice if this effort instead addressed real human needs like reducing the cost of health care, caring for the elderly, rebuilding public transit, and reversing climate change.

JMO/YMMV

alex_m1
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Re: Solution looking for a problem
alex_m1   7/14/2014 5:55:01 AM
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@betajet: in general i agree with you about IDIOT, and the rest. There are many who try to build meaningless stuff.But most of our current jobs are based around selling  meaningless stuff - so in that perspective IDIOT might be useful.

I'm not sure thought about driverless cars. On one hand it could solve parking, and accidents and transportation costs and if deployed in a shared model  also a lot of the greenhouse  effects issues.


On the other hand, there's kutsu plus[1] - a new public transortation mode that might  compete with cars both on time,comfort and cost. The problems again are political and marketing based, but UBERXL combined with kutsu plus seems to point towards a scalable and efficient model. I think it's just a matter of time until this happens. And it could surely have a lot fo the benefits of the self driving cars[2] , without the complexity of self driving cars.

On the other hand , if society is to be free of work , we need self driving cars.And self driven cars will offer a much cheaper service, which is surely important.

[1]http://grist.org/list/helsinkis-personalized-bus-service-is-like-uber-for-public-transit/

[2]Accidents rate in public transportation are much lower than in private transportation.

[3]On call , relatively low cost SUV's  - http://blog.uber.com/uberxlsf

junko.yoshida
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Re: Solution looking for a problem
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 8:44:08 PM
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@betajet, IDioT is a catchy name. You should trademark it!

Kidding aside, if the infrastructure is installed correctly, your daily data of the blood pressure monitor (sent straight to your doc's office or insurance companies) could solve real problems.

Your doctor's can see the pattern of blood pressure (instead of your forgetting to monior or lying about it to your doc.) and get to the bottom of the probem, for example.

But again, all the stakeholders need to buy into the system and come to an agreement to pull off something like that...

Bert22306
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Some wrong premises
Bert22306   7/13/2014 5:52:40 PM
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I agree with your reactions, Junko, but I also think the premises are off base. Some of the examples, like the car's headlights or the iron left on, are specious. You don't need OR WANT IoT for that. You want appliances to be smarter on their own.

What's the point of a smartphone telling you that you left the iron on, if you aren't there to shut it off? Doesn't it make a whole lot more sense for the iron to shut itself off instead? Ditto with the car's headlights. How difficult is it to have them shut themselves off before you drain the battery? It's a very simple control logic problem.

But as someone who has been at this hyped-up IoT for decades already, it does have its place. One fairly indisputable advantage for implementing this sort of thing is to reduce manning requirements in factories, ships, airplanes, powerplants, and such. Not homes primarily, but environments that are filled with systems which require constant monitoring, which in the past has had to be done by many (fallible) humans.

This type of automatic monitoring and control takes many, many sensors, remotely controlled pumps, valves, and electric machinery, and the logic (algorithms) to control the devices based on what the sensors tell you. For this to all play together, with the necessary redundancy for reliability and survivability, you need clever networks which tie it all together.

But it's hard to create a media blitz, unless you talk about things every man or woman in the street can relate to. So it very much looks like an answer to a question no one asked. I think everyone who attempts to hype up IoT for homes should make it a point to watch the 1958 Jacques Tati French movie "Mon Oncle." Here's a sample scene, showing the baffling kitchen with overly automated appliances:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE9t98Gox60

The absurdity of it all is not a new discovery! Homes are (thankfully) not filled with systems that need labor-intensive monitoring or operation, so it doesn't make a great example of IoT.

 

?-??>
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Re: Some wrong premises
?-??>   7/13/2014 7:10:32 PM
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I don't get this hype about IoT and the reason why should devices talk between them; you all gave good comments about this scepticism. If IoT is not for homes, I don't know where it belongs because control devices based on sensors are basically SCADA systems.

Bert22306
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Re: Some wrong premises
Bert22306   7/13/2014 7:21:30 PM
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I don't know where it belongs because control devices based on sensors are basically SCADA systems.

Take for example the problem of running ships. In the past, you had the helmsman, lee helmsman, engine room operators, boiler room operators, navigator, and the duty officer, all doing the job that the duty officer alone should be able to do. And you also had multiple other men on watch, just to monitor gauges and levels, and ensure everything was operating correctly.

Nowadays, with IoT-type of systems, not only can the monitoring and control functions be accomplished by one or two people only, but the machinery can also be monitored back at the home base, so that any components that might soon require attention will already have been identified and any required replacement parts shipped ahead of time.

This type of system improves efficiency, deletes mind-numbing jobs, and it improves operational readiness. This type of scenario plays out in factories, power plants, or any situation where there's a lot of machinery involved. That's where IoT makes the most sense.

In short, SCADA and IoT are not mutually exclusive!

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Some wrong premises
Sheetal.Pandey   7/14/2014 4:26:40 AM
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First of all I would like to say IoT is a small baby that yet learing to crawl. It needs support both at the technical level and social level. When internet was first introduced people have lot of inhibitions about it. But now you cant just live without it.

Privacy and Security are one of the main issues that IoT has to deal with and things are getting structured in the same path. But patience is what is needed.

Imagine if there is power pull down and your washer and grill can prioritise who needs to finish their work first. And a smart fridge can check out you are running out of groceries and vegetables and check in your favorite store what deals are going on and inform you on your smartphone and very well order them for you. This is future of technology and its bound to come.

TonyTib
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Re: Some wrong premises
TonyTib   7/14/2014 11:36:50 AM
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Yeah, running on ship with just a few people works great....until disaster strkes (collision, running aground, etc).


I'm pretty sure modern tanker and freight ships are already highly automated.  I've seen pretty automated tug boats in action, with winches that hold a desired tension.  Also, new US Navy ships are more automated (especially gas turbine vessels), but if you be able to fight through damage, there's only so low you can go in manning requirements.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Some wrong premises
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 8:48:13 PM
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Agreed, @Bert. I'd even say that Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition could become the heart and soul of IoT. No?


Bert22306
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Re: Some wrong premises
Bert22306   7/14/2014 9:22:32 PM
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I'd even say that Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition could become the heart and soul of IoT. No?

Definitely, this is has been happening. Many industrial automation products have been migrating from previous special-purpose protocols to Internet Protocol, specifically to help them play in what we now like to call IoT. Which is why I don't see IoT as being anything new. It's been going on for decades, except maybe not so much in homes.

And even there, at home, I've been watching TV and listening to radio almost exclusively over the Internet. Aren't a TV or radio "things"? I'd call them "things." But it's true that many of the applications ballyhooed for IoT don't make a lot of sense.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Some wrong premises
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:37:14 PM
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@Bert, you wrote:

Aren't a TV or radio "things"?


Indeed, they are definitely a part of "Things."  And I guess you and I both agree that your radio doesn't have any compelling reasons to talk to your TV. Right?

 

Bert22306
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Re: Some wrong premises
Bert22306   7/14/2014 9:46:20 PM
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And I guess you and I both agree that your radio doesn't have any compelling reasons to talk to your TV. Right?

True, although it can be useful to have it talk to my PC, as an easier way of selecting my favorite stations.

Having a radio and TV connected to the Internet also gives them a huge amount of program selection they previously didn't have. I can listen to any number of radio stations from anywhere in the world, as if they were local. Ditto with TV. So making appliances IP-aware is useful for more than just having your hot water tap speak with your toaster.

Besides, anyone who does laundry knows that the most annoying part is loading the washer, transferring to the drier, and then putting the clothes away. If IoT can't do that, I have no interest in a "connected" laundry room. Certainly not for the frivolous functions some try to convince us are such a great innovation.

jimfordbroadcom
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Re: Some wrong premises
jimfordbroadcom   7/18/2014 3:14:07 PM
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Hi, Bert.


I'd settle for a washer above the dryer that would automatically drop the wet clothes into the dryer.  How dumb (and bad for your back) is that to have to pull heavy wet clothers out of the washer and put them into the dryer time and time again when gravity could work for you instead of against you?  And save floor space at the same time (at the expense of vertical space).  How come some innovative (lazy?) person hasn't come up with that yet?

joe.sestrich
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Re: Some wrong premises
joe.sestrich   7/18/2014 3:34:55 PM
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My grandmother (back in the 60's) had a single machine that was both washer and drier.  It was a front loader, too, which are a making a comeback from that era as well....

tb100
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Re: Some wrong premises
tb100   7/14/2014 1:54:46 PM
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I love Tati. Buster Keaton also made a movie with an automated house, including an escalator--the first shown in a movie (long before they were used in stores). I loved the model train system that delivered meals from the kitchen to the dining table.

https://archive.org/details/TheElectricHouse

 

I always hear about the refrigerator that figures out what you are out of and orders more for you. Except this is easily accomplished by opening the door and taking a look, which you are going to get around to sooner or later if you eat food. And I don't buy the same food every week, so I certainly wouldn't want the refrigerator ordering food for me.

The only IOT I see as being useful, yet I haven't seen it anywhere, is a WiFi connected sprinkler system, that can check the weather and water appropriately. Come on guys. Stop designing smart refrigerators and get to work!

mhrackin
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Re: Some wrong premises
mhrackin   7/14/2014 2:14:43 PM
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That  (WiFi controlled sprinkler) could be useful, but an even better solution already exists.  You can buy at a reasonable price TODAY a sprinkler timer system (even a multi-zone one) that can have water level sensors that can restrict watering only to when it is needed.  Sme even have WIRELESS (but NOT hackable WiFi) connections between the soil sensor(s) and the controller.  The soil sensors are FAR better than depending on the still unreliable weather forecasts, especially in the heat of summer where scattered "pop-up" storms are likely that cover very limited areas.

 

BTW, Junko, welcome to MY world of curmudgeonliness!  In another 20 years or so, you'll become a master at it!

tb100
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Re: Some wrong premises
tb100   7/14/2014 3:10:12 PM
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Have you ever tried to program one of those sprinkler timer systems? Maybe it is easy for you, but they are pretty incomprehensible to me.

I'd rather get on my computer, click on a picture of my yard and tell it how often it should water the different zones. It can look up weather reports and adjust if there's a storm coming. Soil sensors won't tell you if it is going to rain.

Of all the wireless systems in the house, sprinkler systems are one system I wouldn't be so worried about hacking. Maybe the system can have an automatic '2 hr maximum' or something to prevent hacked or mistaken programming from flooding your yard.

antedeluvian
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Re: Some wrong premises
antedeluvian   7/14/2014 4:05:01 PM
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tb100

Have you ever tried to program one of those sprinkler timer systems? Maybe it is easy for you, but they are pretty incomprehensible to me.

I'd rather get on my computer, click on a picture of my yard and tell it how often it should water the different zones

No kidding! I have a 6 zone device. each zone is controlled by a slider with about 10 positions. 8 of the positions determines on time. Top and bottom turn the valve on or off. Strikes me as ratehr inelegant, gibven the is micro controlled and the time/date/watering days can all be entered.

But it is much worse. It loses a day. No it is not that it is permanently using a leap year calendar, it loses a day on leap years as well. The unit is diabled for 7-8 months a year (up here in Canada), so I am unsure as tho when the days gets lost. I was going to submit this to "Made by Monkeys"

 

jimfordbroadcom
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Re: Some wrong premises
jimfordbroadcom   7/18/2014 3:21:17 PM
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@antedeluvian - Tell me about it!  My pet peeve with my automated sprinkler system is that if I change the frequency of watering, like when I've reseeded an area and need to water every day, when I change it back to every 2 or 3 days, I'm never sure which days it's going to water and which days it isn't.  I'd like to see an indication of which days are watering days.  The old mechanical sprinkler timer I had at my previous house with it's rotating disks and pegs to indicate when to water was better in that respect.  Get used to this sort of stuff, I guess...

junko.yoshida
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Re: Some wrong premises
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 8:55:06 PM
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@mhrackin, thanks for welcoming me to the world of curmudgeonlines! 

Seriously, I just wanted to know if anyone out there has a convincing scenario for device-to-device IoTs. I know IoT is a hot topic (and engineers are paid to build it regardless of its usefulness). But I still think all of us  -- builders, sellers and consumers -- want the common goal, understanding what good it brings to all of us.

JoeAB
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Re: Some wrong premises
JoeAB   7/14/2014 3:25:10 PM
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Of more use would be phone or tablet application with associated barcode and RFID scanner that ties together the amount and best-before dates of the contents of the refrigerator, frosted-over freezer and cupboards with a menu planner and a shopping list. Tying the short lifetime of electronic devices to the long lifetime of a refrigerator is a poor design choice.

Mark.Kirkwold
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Re: Some wrong premises
Mark.Kirkwold   7/18/2014 12:52:48 PM
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Your wish is my command.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rachio-Iro-8-Zone-Smart-Irrigation-Controller-iro-8-Zone/205093271

I agree this is one of the few things IoT can improve.

resistion
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Remote operations
resistion   7/14/2014 3:23:15 PM
The thing about remote operations for homes or ships or whatever, is that we essentially need web-cams installed everywhere to confirm our over-the-internet commands are being followed. That's just going to be too hard to buy (into); too Big-Brother.

Tim R Johnson
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Re: Some wrong premises
Tim R Johnson   7/15/2014 2:10:46 AM
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Don't forget the classic 1954 loney tunes short "Design for Leaving" in which Daffy Duck tries to sell modern push-button home products to Elmer Fudd. 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1793b_elmer-fudd-design-for-leaving_shortfilms

Remember never to push the WED one!

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Some wrong premises
junko.yoshida   7/15/2014 9:48:55 AM
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@Tim, thanks for the link! Love it!

Etmax
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Re: Some wrong premises
Etmax   7/19/2014 6:52:20 AM
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Bert, when I was in Singapore a few years ago I saw an HBO movie about a guy who wired his computer up so it operate door locks and turn lights on and dial up services etc. and it turned out it was a female computer (well program of course) and it began to order in all these upgrades getting technicians out etc. and then ended up locking him in and trying to bump off his girl friend as it was jealous. I never saw the end because I had to go to a meeting but after watching that, IDIOT seems like the perfect manner in which an ex could make your life hell :-)

kfield
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Re: Some wrong premises
kfield   7/21/2014 5:31:52 PM
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@etmax  "I saw an HBO movie about a guy who wired his computer up so it operate door locks and turn lights on and dial up services etc. and it turned out it was a female computer (well program of course) and it began to order in all these upgrades getting technicians out etc. and then ended up locking him in and trying to bump off his girl friend as it was jealous"

Sounds a lot like the plot of "Le Lift," a Dutch movie I rented a few years back about a smart elevator. The murderous contraption ended up taking one too many occupants for "a ride," and a intrepid elevator repairman eventually figured it out and saved the day.

Douglas442
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Re: Some wrong premises
Douglas442   7/21/2014 6:57:52 PM
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...

kfield said: "Sounds a lot like the plot of "Le Lift," a Dutch movie I rented a few years back about a smart elevator."

Which, of course, harkens back to Douglas Adams who, in the second-half of the original "The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy" radio-series ( circa 1978 ), provides a subplot-line in which Zaphod Beeblebrox is at the central-offices of MegaDodo Publications. He urgently has to take the elevator to go upstairs in order to find someone, who he's never met before, for reasons he's consciously totally unaware of.

He ends up having to have a philosophical discussion with the "Intelligent" Elevator, instead:

Elevator: " I GO UP, AND I GO DOWN."

Zaphod: "I want to go up."

Elevator: "DOWN IS VERY NICE!"

Zaphod: "Yeah? Up! Please."

Elevator: "HAVE YOU STOPPED TO CONSIDER ALL OF THE POSSIBILITIES THAT 'DOWN' MIGHT HAVE TO OFFER?"

... and so on.

Of course, the segment concludes by telling of a wily inventor who thereafter re-discovers and obtains a patent for an amazing device known as a "staircase".

 

Etmax
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Re: Some wrong premises
Etmax   7/21/2014 8:28:39 PM
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Somebody tried to patent the plot to a movie a few years back, i don't know if they managed but Le Lift sounds like a good reason why it shouldn't be possible :-)

kfield
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Re: Some wrong premises
kfield   7/21/2014 9:30:34 PM
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@etmax "
Somebody tried to patent the plot to a movie a few years back, i don't know if they managed but Le Lift sounds like a good reason why it shouldn't be possible :-)"

Well it certainly solidified my reputation of a person simply unable to pick out movies without some kind of lame plot. A murderous elevator? Geez, what was I thinking??

Etmax
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Re: Some wrong premises
Etmax   7/22/2014 7:55:58 AM
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@kfield :-) you're in good company :-) (well at least I think you are :-))

Douglas442
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Re: Some wrong premises
Douglas442   7/21/2014 9:42:56 PM
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Etmax said: "Somebody tried to patent the plot to a movie a few years back... Le Lift sounds like a good reason why it shouldn't be possible :-)"

Just as there are a lot of Things which, though technologically possible, shouldn't be done because our modern-day drive toward the rampant commercial exploitation of ideas will likely or inevitably render them... "utterly ludicrous".

So, then... imagine that you are at a shopping-mall for the sole purpose of buying some replacement light-bulbs ( "smart" LED-bulbs, of course! ) for your "smart-home" which is still unable to go out and do it's own shopping ( but which is banking on Amazon's Smart-Drone delivery system to bypass this situtaion! ).

You go through the door, or get on the elevator ( or escalator ), all of which immediately detect your presence via your smart-phone. The elevator closes the doors, looks up the records of all your buying habits ( among other things )... AND THEN... the "Sales-Pitch" subroutines kick in! Trapped in a small enclosed space, you must now listen to an array of personally-directed options... and what was once a simple task now becomes a complex array of choices that make you feel personally compelled to decide and act upon. 

This may be an ad-man's or a salesman's dream-come-true!... but, for me, it's a nightmare scenario.

Adams, among others, was well ahead of his time in foreseeing this, and so I can only say (... jokingly, of course... and I quote, paraphrasing in my best cockney accent ):

"BRING OUT your "Intelligent" telephones, your "Smart" dishwashers, your "Brainy" blenders!!!... Shove'em onto the cart!"


 

Etmax
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Re: Some wrong premises
Etmax   7/22/2014 6:16:53 AM
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If that ever happened I would walk into the shop with my phone off, or choose a different store.

Currently all of the bigger stores have rolled out self checkouts, and I refuse to use them even if it means a long wait. The only exception I make is if a store staff member does it for me. I just act dumb. I refuse to participate in the dismantling of what is traditionally the entry into the work place of countless teens.

Pablo Valerio
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Unreasonable expectations
Pablo Valerio   7/14/2014 5:07:13 AM
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Junko, I believe your original question says everything.

I don't believe there is a need for connected devices at home except to build some basic safety features that most of them already have.

If I forget to turn off my coffee machine the one I have shuts down by itself. Same with the iron and the oven. I can program my washer to start up to 12H later, but it won't sort the clothes by itself (that would be something to pay for).

To me the new wave of IoT at home (except maybe for the thermostat) is just a buzz to help manufacturers to sell us more devices, accessories and consumables.

Like the new coffee machines that won't accept other brand's capsules, refrigerators that "know" what type of food we eat, and "smart" TVs that follow everything we watch.

I like the M2M and IoT idea of helping manage the power grid, provide services for "smart cities", help manage traffic and monitor noise and pollution.

But I don't see the need to have my washer talk to my grill, nor my iron to my coffee maker. 

jimwilliams57
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Maybe I'm just getting old...
jimwilliams57   7/14/2014 11:38:29 AM
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I don't get it at all.  I installed have a Nest thermostat so that I can adjust it remotely, but frankly the only real benefit that I get from it is being able to have more than 4 set points during a 24-hour period.  I set it to return to the desired temp about once per hour so that if anyone changes it, it will return to my setting within an hour.  If I could do that with a non-IOT thermostat, I would.  I'd disconnect it from the wi-fi but programming the nest schedule without a networked device is just too difficult.

It bothers me when the firmware updates without my knowledge.  On one occasion, the Nest firmware update failed and it didn't restart properly.  We woke up to a cold house.  If I hadn't been home, my wife would have been on the phone with Nest customer support trying to find out why the heater wasn't working.  A simple device like a thermostat (or lightbulb) shouldn't require calls to customer support.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but I have no desire for any other devices in my home to be talking to anything.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Unreasonable expectations
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 8:59:40 PM
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@Pablo, thank you for chiming in. 

You wrote:

I like the M2M and IoT idea of helping manage the power grid, provide services for "smart cities", help manage traffic and monitor noise and pollution.

I agree. I think that's the end game. 

But consumers need clear incentives (from service operators, regulators, etc. ) -- that are attractive and convincing enough, so that they get more willing to install new IoT devices. 

AZskibum
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Re: Unreasonable expectations
AZskibum   7/14/2014 9:19:50 PM
I have no doubt that IoT will provide value and improve efficiency in many ways, but not in the ways that, as Junko phrased it, have been "shopped around and recycled for years."

Many of the smart features talked about for home applicances, for example, already exist and don't really require network connectivity to achieve their goals. As someone mentioned, if you left the clothing iron on, it shuts itself off after a short time. Likewise for the coffee maker. Most consumers don't really need to be notified of these events via SMS to their smartphone, nor do most consumers need to have remote control over these events. The list goes on and on -- sprinklers that detect moisture and only turn on when neccessary, motion-activated lights that turn on before you reach the front door and fumble in the dark trying to put the key in the lock, and so on and so on.

None of these applications require connectivity, and any benefit provided by connectivity is arguably minimal -- especially when the cost of connectivity is potentially compromised network security.

Connectivity must enhance the user experience, not simply be included because it is possible to do so.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Unreasonable expectations
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:34:19 PM
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@Azskibum, thanks for your comment.

And I do agree with you that many of those "smart" applications, as you mentioned, don't really require connectivity. 

But I suspect that connectivity is there not for creating the immediate convenience of consumers, but for generating the long-term financial gain service providers hope to create...

prabhakar_deosthali
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Why not self washing cars?
prabhakar_deosthali   7/14/2014 8:01:25 AM
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One of the most essential tasks that every car owner has to do is to wash his car .

While we are talking about all kind of automation , infotainment and self driving fuction in the futuristic cars, nobody is talking about this simple but the most essential function - The car should be able to wash itself .

See how many millions  of man hours can be saved if the cars wash themselves early in the morning by  self-activating some kind of small sprinklers and moppers on its body and are sparkingly clean when you enter the garage to go out for your daily routine.

And I am not joking!

alex_m1
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
alex_m1   7/14/2014 10:25:17 AM
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@prabhakar_deosthali  : i read somewhere about self service and automated car washes. So it's not hard to imagine some solution fit for automated cars. But first we need automated cars!

mhrackin
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
mhrackin   7/14/2014 2:01:17 PM
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You may not be joking, but I am one (of many I think) who drives their cars for MANY YEARS and washes them once every few years, whether needed or not!

junko.yoshida
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:03:12 PM
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@prabhakar, I chuckled when you wrote that we all need self-washing cars. 

True. In the similar vein, I have my own problems. I love my dish washer, but I hate putting dishes away from my dish washer. I love my washer/dryer, but I hate folding all my clothes after the dry cycle.

But then, damn it, I realize that IoT would not solve any of those fundamental problems!

bk11
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
bk11   7/15/2014 1:25:25 PM
I love my dish washer, but I hate putting dishes away from my dish washer.

This one is easy to solve.  remove some cabinets and install another diswasher or two.  Leave the clean dishes in the dishwasher until you're ready to use them, then load the dirty ones in another washer.  When that one gets full of dirty dishes, run it and use another washer for dirty dishes!

Doesn't work so well for clothes, though.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
Max The Magnificent   7/15/2014 1:51:56 PM
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@bk11: This one is easy to solve.  remove some cabinets and install another diswasher or two.  Leave the clean dishes in the dishwasher until you're ready to use them, then load the dirty ones in another washer.  When that one gets full of dirty dishes, run it and use another washer for dirty dishes!

Brilliant!!!!!

junko.yoshida
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
junko.yoshida   7/15/2014 6:03:23 PM
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@bk11, LOL. Actually, my mother-in-law was doing something similar (although she never owned two dishwashers. )She never put her dishes away from her dishwasher. Her dishwasher tunred into a permanent storage space and she rarely ran the machine!

betajet
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Re: Why not self washing cars?
betajet   7/15/2014 1:48:13 PM
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Already been done -- in 1970!
...Let's talk about your car.  It's screaming "Wash me, please!"  Now, if you're Mr. Average Common Sense, you won't believe me when I tell you that I've got an envelope that'll clean your car while you're driving it home from work.  Well, George, believe me this time, because this one isn't like the Austrian self-sharpening razors.  No, friends, no overheating like the tropical fishes...

The Firesign Theater, Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.

LOR100
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Get It Right
LOR100   7/14/2014 11:38:18 AM
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If you can't get this right, what else is wrong? You stated:

"This is a classic case that hearkens back to Asimov and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Once empowered by its network connection, the "smart device" — in this case, a lowly light bulb — outsmarts its human "host" and starts doing things nobody ever asked it to do."


Well, first, the movie/screenplay, "2001: A Space Odyssey", was written by Arthur C. Clark (and Stanley Kubrick). The book was authored by Clark. First mistake. Second, it was not a light bulb that outwitted the astronauts, if you are referring to the "lip reading incident", but one of HAL's (the computer) "eyes" (video I/O) that was able to lip read when the astonauts were trying to have a private conversation.

 

bcarso
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Re: Get It Right
bcarso   7/14/2014 12:53:46 PM
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She is referring to novels by Asimov (I, Robot and others), not implying that Asimov wrote 2001 A Space Odyssey. 2001 began as a Clarke short story (The Sentinel).

betajet
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The Nine Billion IDioT Devices
betajet   7/14/2014 2:18:05 PM
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My favorite Arthur C. Clarke story is "The Nine Billion Names of God" [1953].  Perhaps when the 9 billionth IDioT device is sold, man will have fulfilled his purpose and what will happen will happen...

Awesome story.  Don't look at Wikipedia page -- it gives away the ending.

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Get It Right
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:05:44 PM
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@bcarso, thank you for clarifying this for me! Much appreciate it. (I happen to be on vacation this week and i didn't see the comments until just now.)

PapaBill 20
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Apprentice
IoT concerns
PapaBill 20   7/14/2014 11:46:06 AM
okay, having the house, car, etc. all talkking to each other for various reasons does have some merit.  However, it does not address the real world.  All it addresses is marketing and surveillance.

Ask yourself this question:  What would happen if a terrorist organization took control of the IoT?  Do the developers care?  Do the marketting firms care?  I'm willing to bet that the only thing they care about is next Quarter's numbers.

pbenjamins
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Hack-able access to your home?
pbenjamins   7/14/2014 12:30:52 PM
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My garage door open came with a wifi enabled device to allow me to open and close my garage door through the internet.  Now why in the world would I want to open or close my garage door from anywhere in the world other than from my home or my vehicle?  Of course I DID NOT INSTALL IT!  I have enough trouble keeping phishers and hackers at bay, why would I take a risk of a hacker being able to open my garage door and possibly my house?  

The Internet has opened the world to us as a user, but it may have inadvertently opened us as a user to all the world!  Hacking my computer is one thing, hacking and controlling my home and my vehicle (remote starting of a car) is a whole other matter.  

Jonathan.Gordon
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Don't forget the software
Jonathan.Gordon   7/14/2014 12:37:20 PM
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Having my home appliances send me hourly updates would be annoying and useless. Having my home appliances send hourly data to an energy efficiency app that collects the data, analyzes, and then tells me how I can reduce my energy costs by 10% would be very helpful. I can also imagine the devices communicating with each other to decide the optimal time to turn on the washer, dryer, sprinkler, AC, etc. 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Don't forget the software
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:09:30 PM
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@Jonathan.Gordon, thank you for your comments. I think it's vitally important for us to vet in advance what's useful and what's not, if we ever have our devices talk to each other.

betajet
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Re: Don't forget the software
betajet   7/15/2014 1:54:20 PM
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Jonathan wrote: Having my home appliances send me hourly updates would be annoying and useless.

Yep, just what I need.  Hourly tweets from from my toaster, or more often when it's having existential issues: "Beats me!  Who wants toast?" [*]

And wait 'til they discover Facebook.  I had to unfriend my self-cleaning toilet last week because of TMI.

[*] from Red Dwarf.

Jonathan.Gordon
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Re: Don't forget the software
Jonathan.Gordon   7/15/2014 2:15:31 PM
Wait until your toilet discovers Instagram

junko.yoshida
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Re: Don't forget the software
junko.yoshida   7/15/2014 5:56:16 PM
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@Jonathan, oh brother. LoL. Your healthcare service provider might be interested in it, though...ha ha.

Some Guy
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Just because you don't see it ...
Some Guy   7/14/2014 2:33:54 PM
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Just because you don't see it doesn't mean that a reason doesn't exist, nor that one will never exist. Just think about how the future looked 50 or 25 years ago:

o In 1964, no one could envision that you would buy a telephone for a computer in your home only so it could talk to other computers, and -- at a time when telephone service was $10 a month -- pay $50 a month for the service. Yet, today, that is the norm in the developed world.

o In 1964, no one could envision that TV's would be hardwired and phones would be wireless. Yet, today, that is the norm.

o In 1989, no one could envision that PC peripherals would all use the same interface cable, or that SW drivers could be self-installing and self-configuring. Yet today, that is the norm, and peripheral costs are lower for all peripherals because of the standardization of USB.

So here's a use case that shows how your washer and grill communicating might be something you value. Everytime I barbeque, I get sauce on my shirt. Thus I need to wash my shirt. Because this is a long standing pattern, my home energy manager can save significant cost by only warming up my hot water just-in-time, in this case, for that load of laundry that is going to start the evening that I barbeque.

The whole idea of the Internet of Things is that the standardization of the comms function lowers the costs for everything, and that the full benefits of the network (Metcalfe's Law) is not knowable a priori. The array of low-cost ubiquitous sensors that are coming available to us are justified on their utility in one use case and then the creativity of the world allows for infinite combinations that come available, essentially "for free" afterwards. You just need the standards defined and inclusive. For example 6loWPAN has security provisions that simply weren't used in the case of the lights. Is that the Internet of Things' fault, or of the supplier who failed to observe the standards?

So here's the thing. You don't need to be convinced that the Internet of Things is a good thing, any more than Gramma needs to be convinced to use a Smart Phone. Just don't complain when the rest of us move on, because when Gramma says "convince me" about the smart phone, she really just means she doesn't want to bother with anything new.

Are you convinced yet that there could be some utility to standardizing the Internet of Things? Markets are won and lost in transitions, and this is likely the biggest transition to come along since PCs, LANs and Cell Phones. But like Gramma and the Smart Phone, those who choose to ignore it, do so at the risk of missing out.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Just because you don't see it ...
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:18:31 PM
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@Some Guy, Ha, ha, I am glad that my rant is now viewed as now officially belonging to your "Gramma and Smartphone" category.

Actually, you are absolutely right. A lot of times consumers don't see real value of new technology until much later.

But the industry would usually come up with some real use of the technology as time goes by. 

IoT could be one of those.

But as I wrote elsewhere in a separate thread, I think we owe it ourselves to hash out what's valuable and what's not when we formulate a credible pitch for developing deivce-to-device communication for IoT.

 

Traces
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Hit the nail on the head, Junko
Traces   7/14/2014 3:05:13 PM
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You've hit the nail on the head, Junko: there AREN'T any compelling B2C applications for the internet of things. But that's not the reason that IoT is "happening": cellular is commoditized, just as computers were before them. Silicon vendors and electronics vendors desperately need the next big thing, and IoT is the only idea that anyone has that could support the volumes.

For sure, the projections are hockey stick-ed. On the other hand, maybe something valuable will eventually come out of it, even if there isn't anything there now.

kfield
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IoT Devices for Seniors
kfield   7/14/2014 4:24:03 PM
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I think we're forgetting about a demographic that could benefit from some of the IoT devices that may seem silly or overkill to us: Seniors. Many more people are living longer, but often with restricted mobility and a gradual loss of independence. Having experienced this situation first hand in my family, this is a demographic for which a smart refrigerator may actually make sense. I'd love to see more development in home health care devices that can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of seniors.

junko.yoshida
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Re: IoT Devices for Seniors
junko.yoshida   7/14/2014 9:20:31 PM
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@karen, I can't agree with you more. I would love to see interesting IoT scenarios that could have a real impact on the healthcare front. 

Duane Benson
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Morning Latte
Duane Benson   7/14/2014 5:30:15 PM
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I have my Latte machine connected to a WeMo switch, which is controlled from my Smartphone. When I get up in the morning, I turn off my alarm on my phone and turn on the Latte machin with my phone. By the time I'm showered and downstairs, my latte is waiting for me. (I wrote about it here)

I don't have it automatically triggered by my Alarm. I'm not sure if that's possible, but I should look into that.

This particular WeMo switch also has energy monitoring, so after leaving home, I can check to make sure I turned it off. I might be able to use a service like Dweet.io to have the Latte machine automatically turned off when I leave my house.

y_sasaki
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Don't fooled by extremes
y_sasaki   7/14/2014 6:44:30 PM
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Back in mid 1990s when Internet was rising, there were all kind of crazy ideas. I remeber there was a company invented flavor-generating device so food provider can let users feel their product flavor through the Internet. I don't think it is common practice today. There were literally hundreds of unsucessful Internet ideas, many of them are near hoax to gather investment money.

Nevertheless Internet became almost "unthinkable to live without it" today. We can make flight plan change, we can look for hotel, we can get driving instruction to the hotel and list of available restaurants nearby. You can still do that in "old school way" - using voice phone call, paper map and good-old yellowpage, but Internet makes process much quick and easier. I think today's teenagers may not even know how to do that in old school way.

I think IoT would be something like that. Not all IoT scinarios told today might not be practical. Some of them might be near hoax. Still, when appliances gets "smarter" and able to connect each other, we will find out useful application over it, eventually it will became thing of "unthinkable to live without it", even though you can still able to do it in old school.

rick merritt
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Forest from the trees
rick merritt   7/14/2014 9:53:26 PM
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This is a great question, Junko. One that's been needing to be asked.

I have been covering different ways to connect IoT devices so long I neglected to challenge the conventional wisdom that its even necessary.

A similar phenomenon happened in the last wave of hype with the smart grid. Few thought to ask why anyone would want to spend the time and money to shave their electric bills which in most cases were not even a big concern for the average Joe or Jane.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Manager
Re: Forest from the trees
Sheetal.Pandey   7/15/2014 12:34:31 AM
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Wow looks like a hot debate! Whether we like it or not, certain things that looks impossible or nont needed now wil become essential commodity tommorrow. Who knew 15 years from now that smartphones will take over the market in such a way that you cannot live without them. Android will become such a important accessory. Things talking to each other is the future and its going to arrive. The house or even the office with just things will become a live place where actions and decisions will go on.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Forest from the trees
junko.yoshida   7/15/2014 10:01:39 AM
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Rick, you and I covered over the years a lot of technolgy ideas that either took really a long time or never actually took place in a commercial market. I am not saying IoT won't happen. On the contrary, it is already happening. Asking the question average joe or jane would ask never hurts. We -- designers, builders of technology, and us reporters included -- shouldn't always be willing partners of tech hype.

resistion
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CEO
Replace your applicances today
resistion   7/15/2014 1:14:50 AM
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Given that there are no plug-in slots for IoT for the overwhelming majority of appliances today, a lot of replacement would have to happen for IoT to be adopted en masse. So don't expect it to happen overnight.

C VanDorne
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Great question!
C VanDorne   7/15/2014 9:52:20 AM
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I'm chiming in late but I just wanted to congratulate Junko for asking a very needed question, at a good time and in the perfect forum for it to be asked.  I mostly side with the cynics, especially given the thirst of today's governments that are seemingly always looking for another angle to control us, or the many nefarious private interest ranging from perpetual marketers like Google and Facebook to zit-ridden teenage hackers.  I need all their input like Junko needs her washer and grill to be dating.

But weighing against that is the fear of being lumped in with other epic failures of vision like  the luddite East Coast Xerox managers who poopooed the concept of the home PC after hearing those pitches from their PARC counterparts.

So my compromise would go something like this: Let's build it so they shall come - who knows what it'll bring us so why not defer to the capitalists and innovators who have historically shown a knack for figuring out how to make life better while making a buck?  BUT (a Sir Mixolot sized one, if you will) not before we figure out the sovreignty angle.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Great question!
junko.yoshida   7/15/2014 10:07:34 AM
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Thank you, VanDorne. Good one! Yes, let's advance our conversation. You wrote:   BUT (a Sir Mixolot sized one, if you will) not before we figure out the sovreignty angle. How do you define "sovreignty"?

C VanDorne
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Re: Great question!
C VanDorne   7/15/2014 10:27:37 AM
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I used "sovreignty" over "security" because I think the concept should be elevated to mean more than just securing data from one point to another.  I'm not sure how that would shake out but if IoT doesn't mean more control for me and less control for them ("them being any range of outside interests), then I'm probably not interested, and I would probably be a very reluctant IoT customer.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Great question!
junko.yoshida   7/15/2014 5:59:15 PM
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@C VanDorne, thanks for your respond. No, I know exactly what you mean. And that's a good concept that builders and designers of IoT should keep in mind. Aftrer all, when we discuss "security" of data, what's often missing is: security in whose point of view?

Icarus2
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It's all about the remote control aspects
Icarus2   7/16/2014 12:12:12 AM
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Many comments here are missing the point of iOT.  It's not about getting the appliances to talk.  Heck, it's hard enough to get engineers to communicate with each other and these are the guys who will get appliances talking?  I've been trying for years to get my fridge to just talk it out with the stove but they are both the strong, silent type.

To me the value of iOT is having a single remote control that covers all appliances that I care to control or monitor remotely.  And yes, that includes using the remote to turn on or turn off the radio when I am watching TV as both use the same speakers. 

junko.yoshida
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Re: It's all about the remote control aspects
junko.yoshida   7/17/2014 8:30:11 AM
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I hear you @Icarus2.

However, the industry has gone beyond that stage, and many are now talking about two competing standards for device-to-device communication for IoT devices.

As you can seen in the story, Intel-led Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) unveiled such a spec last week, which is obviously an answer to the AllSeen effort started by Qualcomm earlier.

The standard is still in flux. And now is the good time to debate why device-to-device communication is needed and if so, what are potentially useful scenarios for that.

GSKrasle
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Freelancer
Re: It's all about the remote control aspects
GSKrasle   8/4/2014 11:59:47 AM
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And coordination. Most folks here seem to be assuming that the smart appliances would be integrated with others in a facility with appropriate infrastructure. In short, new construction. But in my case, I have old obsolete infrastructure, and it would convenience me if the microwave, toaster, refrigerator,dishwasher and lights could collaborate and avoid blowing the breaker every few days. Yes, I need to re-wire the kitchen, but that may not be as cost-effective as having the appliances negotiate a strategy so that I can have my toast and porrige without having to go out and push the breaker! I think this would qualify as one of the "unforeseeable" IOT applications, but it is not an insignificant one! If devices on a branch circuit or a whole house were able to negotiate sharing of the capacity, loads could be leveled and probably lots of energy saved, just as is anticipated for smart grid technology. And as an aside, the laundry machine and dishwasher could maybe pause their noise while I'm on the phone or watching a movie?

junko.yoshida
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Re: It's all about the remote control aspects
junko.yoshida   8/6/2014 1:45:04 AM
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@GSKrasle, you raise good points. In fact, not blowing the breaker was one of the scenarios Rick Doherty, research directo of Envisineering, mentioned. I love your idea about my washing machine and dish washer go into a quiet mode when I am doing a phone interview at home!

chanj0
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CEO
IoT Application
chanj0   7/18/2014 1:09:53 PM
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To me, having single point of control can be a drawback. What if I lost my smartphone, I would lost control of my stove, microwave, dishwasher. Seriously, it actually makes operation of appliances a lot more complicated than it is today.

Controlling of light in a central panel have been done way before smartphone era. Application of IoT, I believe, has to be smarter than this. For example, light is turned on and off depending on whether there are people in the room. Motion sensing light switch?

In my opinion, at this stage, one of the area of IoT development is data collection. For example, weather pattern, temperature change and rain level in various area around the globe. Those information can be fed to a central open database for scientists to study. With this said, IoT device shall be extreme low power consumption and can be deployed easily in remote location.

I'm pretty sure there are a lot of industrial and military application of IoT. For home use, if the value proposition is to make your life easier and to save money for you, it would be a good selling point. A smart A/C that can direct where temperature needs to be maintained may be one of the many applicable ideas. The idea involves small temperature sensors and human sensors (e.g. IR sensor and motion detection) being installed all over in your home. The duct to direct cold or hot air into your different room wil be controlled remotely depending on the sensor information.

mhrackin
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Re: IoT Application
mhrackin   7/18/2014 4:04:00 PM
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chanj0: The company I worked for as chief engineer many years ago had products that did exactly that.  They are still around today, with the 3rd or 4th generation of those designs.  My old boss has one of the OLD versions completely controlling his house, with abilities way beyond what you describe.  They market primarily to commercial, educational/government, and industrial markets.  Commercial large HVAC systems have used the "air direction" method for at leasty 35 years that I know of; these are known as VAV (Variable Air Volume) controllers.  Biggest problem with those is few of the folks who maintain and control these understand how to optimize them.  Just imagine what havoc home users could perpetrate!

When properly used, these systems not only provide optimum indoor environments, they also save TONS of energy.  Way back in the '70s (the first "energy crisis"), my company offered to install and maintain these systems for FREE for a 25% share of the energy savings!  Even so, it was a VERY hard sell. Still is.

resistion
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Re: IoT Application
resistion   7/19/2014 9:29:40 PM
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I see, so there might be popular confusion between making smart appliances smarter and having them connected to the internet. IoT is about the latter, but the former is really the technology opportunity.

Measurement.Blues
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Do what the captain said
Measurement.Blues   7/18/2014 2:42:50 PM
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KIRK: Scotty, Spock, before it changes its mind. Get down to Engineering, pull out every hook up that makes M-5 run. Pull out the plug, Spock

 

bbaudis021
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Rookie
What I will do to the Things (of the Internet) ...
bbaudis021   7/18/2014 4:30:01 PM
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I will be ripping the antennae from the Things and not buying any Things which would not work without them. I do not see a reason for toaster, fridge, range, dishwasher, lights etc.. to talk to each other, me or anything else, specially any smart-thing (since these are to be hacked). If I leave my house with the range on I fully deserve the consequences (planned or not...). I also hate sharing any data I generate since I am not being paid for that.

JERNEE
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Re: Convince Me Why Washer Must Talk to Grill
JERNEE   8/18/2014 3:02:22 PM
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Artificial intelligence is for stupid people; either those it serves or those it creates.

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